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Old 28-06-2009, 19:48   #46
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The Kiwi's don't have to deal with the harbor bars here like we do.
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Old 28-06-2009, 20:01   #47
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I'm betting all the Kiwis are rolling on the floor, laughing their arses off.
I'm always happy to bring a little joy into someone's life. How many times did you say you've made either of these passages on a sailboat?

Here's some more reading material: December 18, 2006
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Old 28-06-2009, 21:30   #48
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The distance from North Cape to South Cape is about the same as San Francisco to Cape Flattery, so there's absolutely no equivalent for comparison. Kiwis are superb sailors, able to deal with very heavy weather, but rarely for so long a passage as going up the left coast of North America. (Avoids the fruit comparison.)
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Old 28-06-2009, 22:07   #49
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Interesting thread. Much good info, thank you.

We are prepared to do a lot of motoring. ORCA has a brand new Beta engine.

We had checked on I-5 and a barge to ship ORCA to Alaska and neither was feasible.

.
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Old 29-06-2009, 02:25   #50
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While growing up in Eureka, on Humboldt Bay, I remember being surprized at the size of some of the vessels that came into the bay to evade bad weather. Last April, the Lady Washington, a 178 ton tallship came to Bodega Bay for a few days, it had left Sausalito (about 60 nautical miles) ONE WEEK earlier, but at times was actually going backwards due to up to 50 knot headwinds. A little over two months later, I sailed (motored actually) from Bodega Bay into San Francisco Bay on flat calm seas. You could have waterskied on the Pacific that day. I did the bash from San Diego to San Francisco last year, but I wouldn't want to go from San Francisco to Seattle. I'm not enough of a masochist! That reminds me, did you hear about the masochist who liked to take an ice cold shower every morning? So he took a hot one.
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Old 29-06-2009, 09:03   #51
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Here's the Bounty, heading up the northern California coast in June, 2008, heading for Victoria harbor (Vancouver Island). Just after I took this shot, she turned and ran downwind for shelter in Bodega Bay. Bounty is 108 ft long.

Here is a link to my blog entry, where you can find a short video showing how badly she was pitching in those conditions: Fun With AIS « VALIS
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Old 29-06-2009, 16:47   #52
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Elliott View Post
I'm always happy to bring a little joy into someone's life. How many times did you say you've made either of these passages on a sailboat?

Here's some more reading material: December 18, 2006

Paul,

I wasn't taking a shot at you. After all, you agreed that it's do-able going up the coast. As I understood it, you turned around due to deadlines, and we all know that deadlines are the mortal enemies of sailors. I say you made a good call. I note also that you stayed pretty close to the shore - I recommended going further off and not harbour-hopping up the coast. And you'll note I stated in my first post that I never made the passage on a sailboat - but I've made that particular passage (both ways) roughly 40 to 50 times, so I know the conditions.

My comment reflected that our various antipodean friends on CF often talk of their typical sailing conditions; so it must be amusing to them to read comments such as "don't sail to weather" "10-foot seas, oh my!" "can't sail in winds forecast at 25-35 kts" and "have the boat trucked the 700 miles" (I'm exaggerating of course)

I recall with the inverted Voyage 440, that the delivery captain was criticized post-mortem for leaving San Fran or San Diego, with a storm approaching. That storm turned out to be a typhoon and it was in December, which is typically rougher than July.
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Old 29-06-2009, 17:06   #53
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ya know, it's just not that uncommon for couples to spend years getting ready to go, sail down the west coast and give it up entirely before or at San Diego. And that's the downwind route. It's too bad really because going down the West Coast really isnt what most of cruising is about.... it's a shame people get that tuff dose early on....
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Old 29-06-2009, 19:06   #54
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Paul, I wasn't taking a shot at you.
And I apologize for being snippy. I guess I'm still a little sensitive about the whole "turning back" thing -- while I do believe it was the right thing to do, it wasn't easy for me.

I will admit that until now, when I listened to the warnings and advice from others who have made this passage, I've told myself "Well, I'm sure it was tough for you, but I've got a strong boat and have crossed oceans, so I'm sure I can handle it". Believe me, it was tougher than I had anticipated. If I get the chance to try this route again, I will wait for more benign conditions, and will certainly allow more time for the passage.

During my aborted passage we were never in any danger (at least no more than the usual amount), and we could have handled conditions worse than what we were getting, but it would have been a long tedious ordeal to bash into the wind and seas all the way to Seattle. If I had had more time available, I would have continued. There was nothing in the forecasts we shouldn't have been able to sail through, but all things being equal, I would have holed up and waited out the worst stuff.

Generally, I prefer to be out of sight of land, and going farther out might have been a better option, but the forecasts and our observations were showing that the wind and seas were getting worse as we went further out. Of course, we were still south of Cape Mendocino when we turned back, and no doubt we were getting some protection from the coastline. Once north of Mendocino the coast would have been a real lee shore.

You are right about the catamaran. They left San Francisco in December, with a well-forecast storm heading south from the Aleutians. We will never know, but it seems likely that schedule pressure caused them to make that fatal decision to leave port.
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Old 30-06-2009, 10:20   #55
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Plans so far

Hello All: Thanks for following this post and all the great advice. I hope you and all the other folks (and new folks) continue to follow this thread and make suggestions as we go.

We are one day out from San Francisco. when we arrive we have a week or so of outfitting, seatrials, then we set out.

My current recommendation to the skipper is to have two major trials of the boat and crew. After sailing up and down in the bay a few times, we should take on an extra experienced hand and try going hard to weather on the outside for a few miles then back, inspecting the boat and systems. (we will go light so we can get to any problem areas withoug having to move stores).

After that, we will take a sail around the Farralons with only the three of us as a true shake down of crew and boat.

Once all is in order, we will set out inshore until we get up to Cape Mendicino.

NEED ADVICE AND CONFIRMATION OF THE FOLLOWING:
Last night, we visited a Portland, OR based freind of the owner's who was a professional fisherman. He told us of something I have never seen on the weather charts and surface wind analysis:

Apparently, somewhere around the 135 fathom line, where the continental shelf drops off and there is a cold water upwelling, there is a narrow band of southerly wind, 1 to 2 NM wide, that one can follow up the coast to Cape Flattery (and beyond). This exists during the summertime prevailing conditions (which are the current long-range forecast).

Can folks confirm or deny that?

Thanks to all the folks who suggested we go to Hawaii or up I-5, but because of the cost of trucking and the untested condition of the repowered boat and refurbished wooden hull, we want to sail up close enough to shore to dive in in an emergency or bad weather forecast. Yes we know it is hard on crew and equipment...

Thanks again and follow our route plan and execution here.

Cordially,
Allen
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Old 30-06-2009, 10:37   #56
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One suggestion:

When conducting your sea trials, you might want to do some man overboard drills. When we were doing some on Honolulu harbor before a delivery in 2000, we discovered a leak in the skeg. We then spent another week on the hard getting that fixed.

MOBs are always a good idea anyways.

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Old 30-06-2009, 11:21   #57
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One suggestion:

you might want to do some man overboard drills.

Jack
MOB drills are my SOP when I am skipper, I'll certainly recommend them to the skipper on this voyage.
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Old 30-06-2009, 11:22   #58
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NEED ADVICE AND CONFIRMATION OF THE FOLLOWING:
Last night, we visited a Portland, OR based freind of the owner's who was a professional fisherman. He told us of something I have never seen on the weather charts and surface wind analysis:

Apparently, somewhere around the 135 fathom line, where the continental shelf drops off and there is a cold water upwelling, there is a narrow band of southerly wind, 1 to 2 NM wide, that one can follow up the coast to Cape Flattery (and beyond). This exists during the summertime prevailing conditions (which are the current long-range forecast).
I have never heard this, nor did I experience anything like it when I sailed west-to-east (from Hawaii to San Francisco) in Sept 2003 (TWS approx 20 kts, NNW), in Aug 2006 (TWS 8kt, NNW), or in Aug, 2008 (TWS 25kt, NNW).

During last week's aborted attempt to sail north, we crossed over the 135 fathom line several times near Point Arena, and I guarantee you the winds didn't ever come from the south! We were seeing TWS at 20-30 kts, NNW.

Between the Golden Gate and the Farallons we often have winds going light, bu I suspect that this is the influence of Point Reyes to the north.

As for a shakedown, I've often taken the crew on an overnight trip out the Golden Gate, to the Farallons, and north around Point Reyes up to the vicinity of Bodega Bay, then turn around and make it back to San Francisco in time for lunch the next day. You will usually see a good variety of conditions, and the crew will quickly learn to appreciate the merits of warm thermal layers under their foul weather gear. It gets cold out there after the sun sets!

Of course some times the wind was so light we couldn't even make it to the Farallons, but this was a good opportunity to work on light-air sail-trim. Other times the conditions have been so rough that we have cut the offshore portion short and run for shelter, spending the rest of the night sailing in the bay.

I have posted to the VALIS blog a Google Earth trackfile showing our path up (and down) the coast during last week's attempt. You can see our hourly position reports, including windspeed and direction (this is just an unfiltered sample on the hour). You can also see the AIS ship traffic we encountered along the way.
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Old 30-06-2009, 19:20   #59
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Would love to get the name of the book as i will being sailing from Seattle to SF this fall if all goes well.
thanks
Tony
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Old 30-06-2009, 19:32   #60
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Thanks Paul!

I hate to do this to you, but you averaged 2.5 kts VMG on the upwind side of things, a bit more at times. I figure you only needed about 300 nm to get beyond the tight spot where the wind is so fierce, which would only have taken about 120 hours, or 5 days, and then you would have been able to get more like 4-5 kts VMG for the remainder of the trip, roughly another 5 days. That assumes nothing goes wrong and breaks, you don't heave-to or do anything else which might slow your progress, and you and the crew haven't starved to death.

I think my boat would've been headed to San Diego on the first tack, and I'd never have been able to get back to SF.
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